Buyers Timeline

Buying a House—Common Steps & Timeline

Buying a house involves many steps and several professionals (real estate agent, home inspector, lender, appraiser, settlement company) to weave all of the details together to get you to settlement on your new home. Your particular situation may vary but these are the most common steps:

Initial Meeting with your real estate agent

  • Select real estate agent (ask us for a recommendation)
  • Learn about “agency” from your real estate agent
  • Determine needs and wants
  • Discuss timeline of future move
  • Referral to a loan officer (ask us for a recommendation)

Loan Qualification with Loan Officer

  • Discuss finances
  • Determine range of financial eligibility for purchase
  • Obtain pre-qualification or pre-approval for a mortgage

Find a Home

  • Select a property that fits your needs
  • Select a property within your budget
  • Discuss options to structure transaction
  • Buyer reviews contract forms with agent
  • Agent presents offer to selling side

Negotiate Contract of Sale

  • Buyer writes an “earnest money” deposit check (typically 3-6% of purchase price)
  • Seller may accept your offer, counter your offer, or reject your offer
  • Buyers choice to select the settlement company and the escrow agent
  • Generally a period of negotiation prior to “ratification” of your contract offer

Title Process with Settlement Ink (in brief)

  • “Earnest money” check is deposited into escrow per the contract; this may be to the Broker or the Escrow Agent/Settlement Company such as us, Settlement Ink
  • Settlement Ink will order the 60 year search of the land records, order a survey of the property, Obtain information from the seller regarding outstanding matters and coordinate with the lender that you selected       (this process begins at the time the “earnest money” check is deposited up until the closing date)
  • Submit Loan Application (if not already done)

Obtain Homeowner’s Insurance

  • Select insurance company and coverage
  • Provide an invoice or paid receipt to your lender prior to closing that has an effective date of the date of closing

Contingency Periods (contemporaneously with the title process)

  • Conduct a “home inspection” which is a physical inspection of property by a qualified inspector
  • Property appraisal contingency (will be scheduled by your lender)
  • Obtain loan approval from lender (this will require providing lots of documentation)
  • Obtain a “wood destroying insect” inspection (your agent will schedule)
  • Other contingencies may exist; discuss with your real estate agent

Down Payment and Closing Costs

  • Several days prior to the date of closing make arrangements to WIRE funds into escrow. If your loan papers are not yet final you will be relying upon an estimate provided to you by your loan officer
  • Bring a personal check to cover an unexpected balance; hopefully less than $500 (what is allowed varies amongst title companies)


  • Funds are confirmed to be in escrow, a “clear to close” is obtained from your lender
  • The loan package is received from the lender at Settlement Ink and the package is processed for closing
  • You attend closing at Settlement Ink with your agent, the seller, the sellers agent, sometimes the lender will attend
  • You will sign a very large stack of documents covering the title transfer and the loan
  • This meeting will take approximately 1 hour
  • Get your keys and move in to your new home!

Post Closing

  • Register all the utilities in your name
  • Settlement Ink will record the legal documents to register you as the new owner
  • Settlement Ink will return the fully signed and notarized loan package back to your lender
  • Settlement Ink will provide you a scanned copy of all of the documents you signed at closing together with your owner’s title insurance policy
  • Settlement Ink will make final disbursements of any remaining funds in escrow

Note: The above is a general timeline. Your situation may be different.

What Clients Say


Dear Joy, Thanks for your excellent services to Sheila and me in connection with the two settlements on Beachwood  Drive.  I think you’ll enjoy this biography- elegantly written and extremely interesting. Best wishes Elihu


Dear Joy,  It is so nice to know you are always there when one needs a special job done. Thanks so much for being my notary,  as well as my friend.  Hope we can pull things together with Joe very soon. Love and Thanks, Theresa


Settlement team, your negotiation skills and pleasant demeanor greatly helped push this rather difficult “short sale” through. Many thanks for all your efforts. Happy Thanksgiving, Sharon

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